The Macedonian Tendency: June 2007

Friday, June 29, 2007

Trpceski: Piano Master!

By David Edenden

Trpceski's webbsite:
JMM Record company
A brief biography


In the footsteps of a Macedonian master
Telegraph: 27/06/2007
Geoffrey Norris reviews

Simon Trpceski who was performing at Wigmore Hall
Simon Trpceski at Wigmore Hall

In a piano recital so rich in imagination and finesse, it is perhaps gratuitous to single out individual pleasures. Simon Trpceski's BBC Lunchtime Concert of Chopin and Liszt was an unalloyed joy, but there was one moment of especially haunting beauty.

It came in the third of Chopin's Waltzes Op 70, where Trpceski floated the theme weightlessly on a quietly rippling stream of sound. The effect was spellbinding. No words can do it justice.

The more one hears Trpceski, the more one appreciates how closely he identifies with the distinctive soul of the music he is playing. This was equally evident a few days earlier at a concert in his native Skopje.

The programme began with a foretaste of the works he was to play at Wigmore Hall, but then shifted focus, because he yielded the limelight to some younger musicians, with whom he played as duettist, accompanist or as part of an ensemble.

When Trpceski first made his mark here in 2000, I was probably not alone in being shamefully unaware of other Macedonian musical talent, but this concert exposed some winning examples of it.

With two of his pupils, Andrej Naunov and Edita Hadzi-Hamza, he played some of Grieg's Norwegian Dances, both of the younger pianists revealing the fusion of sensibility and technique that is a hallmark of their teacher.

Two promising singers, the baritone Goran Nacevski and soprano Irena Krsteska, performed songs by Grieg and Dvorák. Trombonist Viktor Ilieski played a transcription of Schubert's Serenade and, with panache, a concerto by Vladislav Blazhevich.

Notably impressive were three violinists, the 16-year-old Sofija Nikoska playing the Ponce/Heifetz Estrellita with eloquence of line, and boldly tackling the stratospheric Paganini/Kreisler La Campanella.

Gjorgi Dimcevski was dazzling in that Vengerov favourite, Bazzini's La Ronde des lutins. Kliment Todoroski was outstanding, not only for his confident stage manner but also for the tonal shading, sensitivity and élan he brought to Elgar's Salut d'amour and the Falla/Kreisler Spanish Dance.

All the artists joined in a final encore of a rip-roaring arrangement of a Macedonian folksong by Damir Imeri.

Trpceski embraced the spirit of this diverse repertoire with exceptional insight, just as each of the Chopin polonaises, mazurkas and waltzes in his solo programme encapsulated specific moods, and the two Liszt Soirées de Vienne had that enveloping atmosphere and consummate artistry which mark him out as one of the great musicians of our day.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Matthew Nimetz: The CIA is on Macedonia's Side!

By David Edenden

This is an old post from 1996 regarding a secret CIA report that was leaked to the the Greek TV station "Antenna". Maybe Matthew Nimetz can ask the CIA to declassify it and use it as a basis for negotiation. Good fun!

MILS- CIA Report Alexander the Great NOT Greek-
bit.listserv.hellas | Google Groups:

CIA - GREEK-MACEDONIAN DISPUTE BECAUSE OF MACEDONIAN LAND The secret study of the CIA reads that Alexander the Great was not Greek, and that the current problems between Macedonia and Greece are not only because of the origin of this emperor. This information, presented by the Greek TV station 'Antena', and reported by 'Makfax' agency, continues that the content of the document explains the attitude of Washington in the Greek-Macedonian dispute.

The report also reads that Alexander the Great and Macedonians at that time were Illyrians and enemies to Greece, and that Macedonia was not Greek. The authors claim that Greece refuses to recognise Macedonia not only because of the ancient emperor, but also because of its fear that Macedonia might require a returning of its predecessors' land and a compensation for the violence in the past. Greeceis also afraid, reads the report, that Macedonians might ask for their homes to be returned to them, which might become one of the most serious issues in this part of Europe.

The report ends with the statement that, after the Second Balkans War, 'a policy of Hellenisation was applied in the Aegean Macedonia, and hundreds of thousands Greeks were settled in the area.'"

Bulgarians and Greeks Duke it Out in Istanbul (not Constantinople)

Turkish court rejects ecumenical status of Istanbul-based Orthodox Patriarchate -
International Herald Tribune

The charges against Bartholomew and 12 senior clerics were first filed in 2002, by the head of a Bulgarian Church Foundation, who argued that Bartholomew had no authority to dismiss Kostantin Kostov, the Bulgarian priest.

The Bulgarian foundation had claimed the priest was punished after he refused to refer to Bartholomew in prayers and refused to conduct religious services and issue baptism and marriage documents in Greek.

In Athens, the Greek Foreign Ministry said the court decision would not change the Christians' perception of the Patriarch.

'The ecumenical dimension of the Patriarchate of Constantinople is based on international treaties, the sacred regulations of Orthodoxy, on history and Church tradition,' ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said.

'But, above all, recognition of the Ecumenical Patriarch as a spiritual leader is — and has been for centuries — deeply rooted in the conscience of hundreds of millions of Christians, Orthodox or not, worldwide.'

Bartholomew went about his business Tuesday regardless of the ruling, meeting with Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko for talks that included the state of Orthodox churches in Ukraine.

Yushchenko was in Istanbul to attend a regional leaders' meeting. Orthodox churches were all und"

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Istanbul was Constantinople

By David Edenden

This is the most hated song in Greece. I wonder if there are any maps in Greek text books showing Istanbul (aka Constantinople) to be "Greek".

Lyrics

Now it's Istanbul, not Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Now it's Turkish delight on a moonlit night

Every gal in Constantinople
Lives in Istanbul, not Constantinople
So if you've a date in Constantinople
She'll be waiting in Istanbul

Even old New York was once New Amsterdam
Why they changed it I can't say
People just liked it better that way

So take me back to Constantinople
No, you can't go back to Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Why did Constantinople get the works
That's nobody's business but the Turks

Istanbul (Istanbul)
Istanbul (Istanbul)

Even old New York was once New Amsterdam
Why they changed it I can't say
People just liked it better that way

Istanbul was Constantinople
Now it's Istanbul, not Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Why did Constantinople get the works
That's nobody's business but the Turks

So take me back to Constantinople
No, you can't go back to Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Why did Constantinople get the works
That's nobody's business but the Turks"

Did Albanians Pay Ahtisaari To Play?

"Serbia's Dulic calls for inquiry in Ahtisaari bribe allegations"
NewsRoom Finland:
26.6.2007 at 19:32

Oliver Dulic, the speaker of the Parliament of Serbia, is calling for a formal inquiry into allegations that Martti Ahtisaari, the UN special envoy for Kosovo, has accepted bribes from an Albanian organised crime figure in exchange for recommending independence for the Serbian province, US-based news portal Serbianna.com reported on Monday.

Bosnian news agency Focus had reported over the weekend that Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany's federal foreign intelligence agency, had uncovered bank accounts held by Mr Ahtisaari that had received two million euros and that on at least two occasions he had received cash payments of more than 40 million euros.

Neither the UN nor Mr Ahtisaari, a former Finnish president, has commented on the allegations."

Gruevski to Bush: Come on Over!

Macedonian_News_Service : Message: Daily Bulletin:

Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski sent a letter to U.S. President George Bush in response to his personal message, in which he expressed his satisfaction from their meeting in Tirana and Macedonia's progress regarding NATO membership.

"I was honored to meet you in Tirana earlier this month. I highly value this exceptional opportunity and our direct and open discussion with our common friends and partners from Albania and Croatia on the future of the Balkans.

Under your leadership, the United States significantly enhanced our efforts to strengthen the Macedonian multi-ethnic democracy and market economy. As a result, the Republic of Macedonia has been able to assume its part of responsibilities and to participate in the important missions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

I am grateful for the vital support you have given for our membership in NATO. The Republic of Macedonia is dedicated to finalize the reforms and we are aware that our work will continue even after we join the Alliance. We know that the opportunity to join the Alliance has become a reality and we will do everything within our power to earn that privilege. For the people of Macedonia, next April’s Summit in Bucharest is a meeting with our destiny. Our people have been waiting for too long to join the European mainstream and we will seize this historic opportunity.

Expanding NATO with Albania, Croatia and Macedonia, a timely resolution of the final status of Kosovo, and opening the European door for Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, will transform the Balkans into a zone of freedom, stability, and economic prosperity.

I would like to invite you, after the Summit next year, to visit Biblical Macedonia, to come to Ohrid, the centre of Christianity that in the XIV century had 365 churches, one for each day of the year, so that together with my colleagues from the region, we could celebrate the crowning of your vision expressed in 2001 in Warsaw for Europe whole, free and at peace.

God bless you, your family and the American people", reads the letter of PM Gruevski to U.S. President Bush.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Makfax Helps Spread Greek Propaganda

By David Edenden

Makfax is a news agency in the Republic of Macedonia that reports on the Balkans.

I have contacted Makfax many times to encourage them not to just repeat the propaganda of the Greek government , but to provide background information, comment from Macedonian officials or Macedonian pundits or any explanation of the Macedonian side of the dispute.

Below you will notice that Makfax simply repeats without any attempt to rebut the lies of Papandreou. By doing this, Makfax harms the interests of the Macedonian people and the Republic of Macedonia. Please email them to stop doing that!

In italics and with relevant links, I have added a few sentences to better inform the reader.



Papandreou issues warning to Macedonia
Makfax vesnik: "

Athens /25/06/ 14:15

The biggest opposition party in Greece - PASOK warned Skopje to leave the intransigent position and contribute to finding a mutually acceptable solution.

PASOK's leader Yorgos Papandreou said last Saturday that Skopje's behavior was incomprehensible as were the actions and statements which, according to him, were in collision to the Skopje-Athens Interim Agreement.

The opposition leader pointed out that the solution on the name of Macedonia should be reached in mutually acceptable fashion and the agreed name should be fit for international use.

'Nationalism is a bad adviser', said Papandreou, adding that the international law should be taken into consideration as well."

More than two thirds of the countries of the world have recognized the Republic of Macedonia by its constitutional name and Greece has come under pressure by human rights organizations to recognize its own ethnic Macedonian minority and grant them basic human rights.

Macedonia and Russia - Meeting of Minds

Crvenkovski - Putin: Macedonia and Russia foster excellent political ties:
MRT.com.mk
Monday, 25 June 2007

Political ties between Macedonia and the Russian Federation are correct and at high level, which is not he case with the economic relations and trade exchange, said both presidents of Macedonia and Russia, Branko Crvenkovski and Vladimir Putin respectively, after their Zagreb meeting on Sunday following the Energy Summit of SEE heads of state, which was attended by the Russian President.The Macedonian President extended remarks with regard to the trade exchange between the countries, which in 2006 amounted over Dollar 500 million - 30% increase compared to 2005.

- Although the trade exchange between both countries is making headway, the direct Russian investments in Macedonia are insignificant i.e. $15 million investments for 2006, which is $5 million higher than in 2005, said Crvenkovski, adding that approximately 90% of the exchange would be in benefit of the Russian firms, whereas 80% of the exchange would go to the import of energy from Russia to Macedonia.

The Russian President said that they were envisaging to invest over $180 million to Macedonia, unless "they find a good partner".

- There's letter of intent for "Gasprom" investments in Macedonia, while we also bid for TEC "Negotino", said Putin, underlying that the Inter-Governmental Commission for Cooperation between Russia and Macedonia should convene more frequently.

Crvenkovski highlighted there were no political obstacles for the small number of Russian investments in Macedonia. Instead. they were due to the weak administrative capacity and bureaucratic procedures.

- I would like to emphasise that we are willing to invite "Gasprom" to join the gasification of the Republic of Macedonia, to assist us even with a concept since we have no previous experiences, said Crvenkovski, adding that firstly the Russian investors should enter the sphere of energy, which would trigger the resumption of cooperation in other spheres.

Putin said he would notify the "Gasprom" management of the Macedonian offer as soon as possible. Moreover, he showed interest in the political process in Macedonia after 2001, as well as in Macedonia's position regarding the Kosovo issue.

- There's no forcible alteration of the borders and we pledge for observation of the international standards, Putin reiterated the Russia's position, emphasising that Russia backed the integration of the Balkans countries into EU.

Crvenkovski said Macedonia, being candidate country for EU-NATO membership, was obliged to be in compliance with Russia's official position. Nevertheless, "we would be content unless mutually acceptable solution on the Kosovo issue will be reached", he said.

The Southeast Europe region has no sufficient quantity of commodities that could be offered at the markets of the countries, which are the biggest energy exporters. Furthermore, construction of an energy infrastructure in the region is a must. These were the two major conclusions of the Energy Summit of SEE heads of state, which were outlined on Sunday by the president of the Croatian Economic Chamber, Nadan Vidosevic.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Russian Gas To Macedonia

Russia backs gasification of Macedonia - Putin
Interfax > Politics:
Jun 24 2007 6:25PM

ZAGREB. June 24 (Interfax) - Russian President Vladimir Putin believes that the memorandum of understanding signed last December between Gazprom (RTS: GAZP) and Serbia on a main pipeline to cross the territory of the country is an important step towards continuous deliveries of Russian gas to the Balkans.

Such work is being carried out in Hungary now, Putin said.

'Russia is interested in continuing talks on gas sales and further using the transit capacities of the region, as well as the construction of underground gas storage facilities in a number of Balkan states,' the president said.

'The gasification of Macedonia and the extension of pipeline networks to Albania, South Serbia and Kosovo is interesting as well,' he said. ar md"

Friday, June 22, 2007

Crvenkovski to Meet Aussie Students

Cool School: Reservoir District Secondary College | Herald Sun:

"THOUSANDS of secondary school students trek overseas each year to broaden their minds and enhance their language studies. But Reservoir District Secondary College students must be the first to get a presidential welcome.
Eighteen students are touring the new Republic of Macedonia and central Balkans this month and will meet President Branco Crvenkovski and Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski.

Year 11 student Zoran Mitrevski, 16, says he was shocked when he heard about the special treatment.

“You wouldn't come to Australia and get a welcome like that,” he says.

Principal Robin Lockington says the meeting with the president was made possible through the school's close ties with the local Macedonian community and Embassy.

“From what we've been told, this is the first organised school trip to the new Republic of Macedonian,” Lockington says.

He says the year 9-12 students, who all study Macedonian, will get the chance to understand another culture and see how other people work and operate.

“These students will operate in a very different vocational world to what we have,” Lockington says.

“Australia is now part of the international community. By visiting other countries, it broadens their horizons about what's involved.

Sir Ivor Roberts: Share Kosovo

By David Edenden

Partitioning Kosovo makes good sense. Those in favor of independence make no sense.

"Ambassador Roberts: Division of Kosovo - only option"
Makfax vesnik:

London /20/06/ 16:23

The solution on Kosovo should be sought in some kind of division that will left both sides equally discontented, said Sir Ivor Roberts, a former British Ambassador to Serbia and current President of Trinity College, Oxford.

In an interview with BBC, he said it would be much better 'to divide the province and inflict pain to both sides than to adopt the absolutistic decree of Martti Ahtisaari.

When BBC's journalist asked if the divisioSave as Draftn of Kosovo wouldn't trigger Pandora's Box's opening and jeopardize survival of Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sir Roberts said: 'I think we should solve the problems one at a time, and Kosovo is the most urgent one'.

His stance is that the borders should be shifted 'if the existing ones do not provide sense of security and prosperity to the citizens'.

According to Sir Roberts, the multi-ethnicity is a coSave as Draftncept that should not be imposed or instigated.

'Everybody's talking about multiethnic states now. However, we had one already - SFRY, in which disintegration we from the West also took part. Therefore, we have to redouble our efforts and make sure that the newly established states do not endanger minorities' right', said the former British Ambassador to Se"

EU Firm Against UDI for Kosovo

EU says declaring Kosovo independence would create problems, not solve them
(SETimes.com):
"By Blerta Foniqi-Kabashi and Bekim Greicevci for Southeast European Times in Pristina – 22/06/07

EU officials made it clear Thursday (June 21st) that the bloc would not support a Kosovo independence declaration and warned the province's leadership against any unilateral action in that direction."

The Return of the Natives

By David Edenden

This is an old 2003 article about ethnic Macedonian refugees allowed to return to Greece for a visit, after pressure from some EU politicians. Since it is published by "Transitions On Line", an arm of
Radio Free Europe. I published it in full before RFE succumbs to pressure from the Greek lobby and removs it from their site.
"Ethnic Macedonian refugees to return home to Greece after more than 50 years.
Out of Exile:
July 2003

by Aleksandra Ilievska

SKOPJE, Macedonia--The Greek government has announced it would try to right some of the wrongs committed against ethnic Macedonian political refugees who were exiled from Greece after the Greek Civil War of 1946-1949.

In a new age of European Union standards of human rights, the government will allow those refugees to return home after 55 years in exile, Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos said in an 8 June interview with the Greek daily Eleftherotypia.

Approximately 60,000 ethnic Macedonians--28,000 of them children between two and 14 years old--were expelled or forced to flee from Greece after the Greek Civil War. Stripped of their Greek citizenship and their properties confiscated, the expellees were not permitted to return to Greece for even a brief visit unless they denied their own ethnic origin and declared themselves “Greek.”

A few days after Loverdos’ 8 June interview, Greek Foreign Ministry spokesperson Panaiotis Beglitis confirmed the government’s decision. The spokesperson said that Foreign Minister Yorgos Papandreou wants the political refugee problem resolved as soon as possible and has managed to come to an agreement on the return with opposition parties and local authorities in northern Greece.

The agreement is expected to be a hot topic when, between 15 and 20 July, thousands of the refugees--now living in the Republic of Macedonia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Uzbekistan, Bulgaria, Canada, the United States, and Australia--are expected to come to the northern Greek town of Florina (Lerin, in Macedonian) to attend the third gathering of Macedonian political refugees.

The first two such gatherings were organized in the Macedonian capital of Skopje in 1988 and 1998.

The preparations for the third world reunion of the refugees in Lerin (Florina) began immediately after the second reunion in 1998 ended. In the words of Georgi Donevski, the executive secretary of the organizational committee of the reunion, the intention from the beginning was to organize the third gathering in northern Greece.

“I have to admit that Greece’s decision to open its borders this summer came to us as a cold hand on a fevered brow,” Donevski said in a 20 June interview with TOL.

The exiled Macedonian emigrants hope they will be able to enter Greece this summer without visas--a measure likely to only be temporary.

Asked if the Greek government was considering the possibility of eliminating visas altogether for the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia, Loverdos told Eleftheroptypia, “We are trying to find a solution to the visa problem in any way we can. I consider it a high priority that we immediately resolve such problems.”

OWNING UP TO MISTAKES

Until 1912, Macedonia--a territory much larger than the present-day Republic of Macedonia--was part of the Ottoman Empire. During the first Balkan War of 1912, it was liberated from Turkish rule with the help of Greece, Serbia, and Bulgaria. The following year, however, the three liberators sought repayment for their assistance, fighting each other in the second Balkan War of 1913, and partitioning Macedonia.

The northern part, also known as Vardar Macedonia because it stretches along the valley of the River Vardar, was annexed by Serbia. The eastern part, or Pirin Macedonia, became part of Bulgaria, while the southern part, Aegean Macedonia, stretching along the northern coast of the Aegean Sea, was annexed by Greece.

When the Republic of Macedonia (Vardar Macedonia) proclaimed its independence from the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRJ) in 1991, Greece perceived it as an expansionist claim over its territory based on the fact that the state of Macedonia bears the same name as Greece’s northern province. Considering the size and military capacity of the Republic of Macedonia, many believed Greece’s fears to be out of place.

According Loverdos, the recent decision to open the borders to the ethnic Macedonian refugees has nothing to do with the name dispute.

“We do not consider this [political refugees] a subject of our bilateral relations. I repeat that the only unresolved issue in our bilateral relations is the question of the name,” said Loverdos, calling the political refugee problem a “thorn” in Greek-Macedonian relations that must be “uprooted.”

“Our own disposition is to offer a solution, and in particular, not in the distant future but immediately,” Loverdos said.

In his view, a technical solution should be found for these people to be able to return after 55 years of exile.

“This will not become, however, a prelude to the resolution of the name dispute,” Loverdos warned.

Speaking about Greece’s policy toward the Western Balkans, Loverdos said that one of the priorities of Greek foreign policy is to improve the country’s relations with its neighbors.

“I truly believe that FYROM [the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the name Greece and other countries use to refer to Macedonia, at Greece’s insistence] as a strong, European-oriented country, will be of benefit to the region. It is a viable country, and we must strengthen its existence in any way we can,” said Loverdos.

ABOUT FACE

In 1982, Greece passed a law on repatriation of political refugees that were “Greek by genus.” The recognition by the senior Greek official that Greece had discriminated against the ethnic Macedonians by leaving them out of the 1982 repatriation law received much attention in Macedonia.

“This decision is a result of the constructive policy of the Greek government, whose new strategy nurtures a European approach in its foreign policy toward neighboring countries. … Only a few months ago, we could not have even imagined that such delicate issues would be raised,” Macedonian Ambassador to Greece Blagoj Handziski said in a 9 June statement.

Metodija Tosevski, a member of the Association of Refugees from the Aegean Part of Macedonia, looks at the development from historical perspective.

“I believe historical injustice cannot be undone. Thousands of lives were lost, thousands were displaced, and families were torn apart. Of course, the new generation of Greek politicians should not be held accountable for the wrong policy of the past. Therefore we want to look at this as a new beginning and new relations with new people that have views different from those of the past,” Tosevski told the Macedonian daily Utrinski vesnik.

On 27 May, Greek Parliament ratified the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) that Macedonia had earlier signed with the European Union--an agreement that makes Greece even more eager to sort out the political refugee problem.

Though it is now evident that Greece has softened its rigid policy toward its northern neighbor, the turnabout has a history that reaches further back than at first glance.

Borjan Jovanovski, a distinguished Macedonian journalist, long-standing analyst of the Macedonian-Greek relations, and former spokesman for Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski, says that when Kostas Simitis became Greek prime minister, Greece changed the way it perceives the Balkans and the EU.

“Right from the beginning,” said Jovanovski, “Simitis’ government adopted a pragmatic approach, which implies accepting reality the way it is, and part of that reality is the Macedonians living in Greece. Greece wanted to realize the ambitions of its foreign policy, and those ambitions involved becoming a factor in the Balkans and obtaining recognition by the EU that Greece is the leader of the region, which would certainly make the EU hold Greece in high esteem.”

PART OF SOCIETY

According to Jovanovski, Greece has realized it cannot argue for promotion of human and minority rights elsewhere while turning a blind eye to what is happening in its own backyard. Simitis’ government managed to resolve the conflict between Greece’s foreign and domestic policy.

Jovanovski also said that Greece could find no way out of undoing the injustice against the political refugees once it discovered that its ethnic Macedonian minority was not politically radical.

“[They] are European-oriented; they understand the European context of minority rights. There are no nationalists among them that would try to take advantage of the granted minority rights to eventually demand the breakaway of Greece’s northern province,” Jovanovski said.

Vinozito (Rainbow), the political party of the Macedonian minority in Greece, has been taking patient and very cautious steps over the years to prevent its struggle for greater minority rights from being understood as an attempt to violate Greece’s territorial integrity or disrupt its national and social order.

“We do not want separate schools as some ethnic communities in other countries have. We want the Macedonian language to be taught within the framework of the national educational system. We do not want to be separated from Greek society. Therefore we are cooperating with the Greek political parties. We are part of this society, but for the sake of respecting the democratic right of distinction, the Macedonian ethnic minority should be recognized.,” Pavlos Vaskopulos, a member of Vinozito’s presidency, told the Macedonian daily Dnevnik.

As regards human rights, the change in Greece’s policy toward the Macedonian minority has also reverberated among the public. Macedonians in northern Greece can now more freely use Macedonian, not fearing prosecution.

A tombstone inscribed in the Macedonian Cyrillic alphabet has recently appeared in one of the Macedonian-inhabited villages, while a billboard bearing the name of Vinozito, written in Macedonian, has just recently been posted in the heart of Lerin (Florina).

Greece’s implementation of such European values in the Balkans is hopefully a sign that more positive change is to come, Jovanovski said, adding that it is better that the process of change remain a slow and cautious one, as radical changes could instigate resistance.

The agenda of the third world reunion of the refugees foresees visits to a number of towns and villages in northern Greece, the birthplaces of the political emigrants.

What some of the refugees will see, however, will not at all fit in with the pictures that have lingered in their memories for half a century. Many of the villages whose rebellious residents fought for the Resistance--the Greek Democratic Army--against the monarchists in the Greek Civil War were burned to the ground. One of those is the village of D’mbeni near Kostur.

Though D’mbeni no longer exists, its memory is still alive in the Skopje neighborhood of Butel II, where architect Andrej Andreevski created a miniature model of the village with astonishing precision based on a few photographs and his memory.

Andreevski left D’mbeni in 1949 never to return. D’mbeni was then burned and flattened to the ground with bulldozers. Even the village cemeteries were not exempt from the monarchists’ vengeance.

Once he heard of the destruction, Andreevski gave up his desire of ever going back. He wanted to remember his birthplace the way he left it. He died a few years ago, but the model in his Skopje home is the only “birthplace” the one-time residents of D’mbeni, now scattered all over the world, can return to

"Lustration in the Western Balkans"

By David Edenden

This organization, which is funded by the usual suspects, is an example of how Nato/EU subverts peace in the Balkans. The "lustration" process is designed to throw light on the communist past, but this organization excludes Slovenia and Bulgaria. With the exclusion of Bulgaria, no need to talk about the repression of Macedonian ethnicity. Also, lets not talk about Nato and EU member Greece. If there ever was a country that needs a "lustration" process, its Greece, regarding its Macedonian minority. Can't do tht because it might upset the "Greek Issues Caucus" Macedonians should not play ball with these vampires because it only serves to divide us ... it's a plot, I tell ya!















Lustration in the Western Balkans:

"The “Disclosing hidden history: Lustration in the Western Balkans” project will create a regional network of NGOs with the purpose of strengthening good governance, the rule of law, and the participation of civil society in the democratic process, via regional and local activities. Specifically, this project aims to enhance lustration legislation and practices and to extend citizen participation in the public debate on the past in the Western Balkans."

Hypocrisy and Gareth Evans

By David Edenden

Listen and understand.
Hypocrisy can't be bargained with.
It can't be reasoned with.
It doesn't feel pity.
It doesn't feel remorse.
It doesn't feel fear.
Hypocrisy will not stop, ever,
until the needs of the
"national interest of the state"
are satisfied.

Below is an address from our favorite hypocrite, Gareth Evans. fearless leader of the "International Crisis Croup". Please read the article carefully and behold, with awe, the full power of hypocrisy.



Hypocrisy, Democracy, War and Peace:
International Crisis Group -
Gareth Evans
16 June 2007

Dinner Keynote Address by Gareth Evans, President, International Crisis Group, to Harvard University Weatherhead Center for International Affairs Conference on Democracy in Contemporary Global Politics, Talloires, France,

Hypocrisy and Democracy
There are quite a few things we've learned about democracy promotion over the last few years, and most of them have emerged pretty clearly in course of discussion at this conference, so I will not labour too long over familiar ground.
First, it is obvious now to just about everyone that democracy or at least liberal democracy, the only kind that means anything is about much more than holding elections. Protection of human rights, especially minority rights and those related to freedom of expression, and respect for the rule of law, are indispensable concomitants.

US and Macedonia Share Info on Islamic Terrorism in the Balkans

By David Edenden

I don't usually publish full length articles except when they are very important and speaks for itself. For further information, buy Christopher Deliso’s new book,
The Coming Balkan Caliphate: the Threat of Islamic Extremism to Europe and the West

Exclusive: How the US Ordered Increased Activity against Macedonia’s Islamists after the Fort Dix Arrests

6/22/2007 (Balkanalysis.com)

The May 7 arrests of six Islamic radicals, four of them ethnic Albanians originally from Macedonia and Kosovo, led American intelligence officials to issue a direct order to their Macedonian colleagues, urging them to redouble efforts against known and unknown Islamic radical elements in the country, Balkanalysis.com can now report.

The alleged aspiring terrorists have been held without bail since their arrest and were indicted on June 5. While the majority of news reports on the subject have remained preoccupied with details such as the ‘true’ nationality of the men arrested or their prior experience as refugees, or the larger legal issues of whether the FBI had erred into using entrapment, little was said of the ripple effect the operation would have on unfolding counterterrorism developments in the Balkans specifically.

However, according to two Macedonian intelligence officials speaking off the record, in a meeting held soon after the arrests in New Jersey, “we were told by our American colleagues to intensify our work [against Islamic extremist elements], and to find out more about their operations here… and identify new players.”

This testimony contradicts the conventional wisdom that states the US is omniscient when it comes to counter terrorism work in the Balkans. This belief is cultivated by popular culture (television shows depicting ingenious agents performing daring and efficient operations, etc.) yet has apparently been instilled in the hearts of many. For example, one American official in Skopje surveyed by Balkanalysis.com regarding local security developments, shortly before the Fort Dix arrests were made, stated confidently that “we have a very good handle on the situation…we are aware of everything going on [involving Islamic radicals].”

However, the fact that the US administration was caught off-guard by the Fort Dix arrests, and their links to the Balkans, is indicative that this is not always the case. What remains unclear is whether the order to the Macedonians to pick up the pace came as a result of a directive from Washington- and if so, from whom.

In the bigger picture, the fact that the arrests came also less than two months before President Bush’s trip to neighboring Albania can also be attested as a reason for enhanced vigilance. It would have happened, in other words, with or without a botched jihadist plot in New Jersey. A second major reason for a clean-up is of course the NATO conference in Ohrid on June 28-29, which has led to unprecedented security measures in this idyllic lakeside tourist town in preparation for over 800 foreign guests.

Indeed, according to the Macedonian intelligence officers, the CIA has, over the past 9 months, dramatically increased the frequency of requests for information on the growing fundamentalist Wahhabi community in Macedonia. This new focus has been mirrored by allied services, such as the British, French and Italian, not only in Macedonia but in Bosnia and, as Balkanalysis.com recently reported, in Albania as well.

Nevertheless, the disconnect between ‘mission accomplished’-type rhetoric and the reality is still wide. A less than discreet operational protocol is occasionally revealed in the details. A veteran European intelligence officer with long experience of the Balkans mocked an alleged American “intelligence-gathering” procedure in Skopje. “Once a week, without fail, they send someone from the embassy down to an Islamic bookstore in the Carsija (old town) of Skopje…and they buy all of the new Islamist literature, if there is any, bid them good day and go back.”

A second case indicating less than perfect knowledge was seen a year and a half or so back, when a Skopje newspaper presented the US Embassy with publicly-available data received from an outside party, confirming that an Albanian-language jihadist website, previously registered in Lebanon, had been transferred to the name of a Macedonian woman in an ethnically-mixed neighborhood in the central Macedonian town of Veles. “They seemed genuinely surprised by this and thanked us,” said one newspaper representative involved. Despite the provocative jihadist content of the website, nothing more was heard about whether the investigation yielded any results- or, more likely, whether it was even begun.

The discrepancy between assumed greatness and a more pedestrian reality is not surprising, considering the internal criticism that Western counter terrorism efforts have received in the past. In Balkanalysis.com director Christopher Deliso’s new book, The Coming Balkan Caliphate: the Threat of Islamic Extremism to Europe and the West, several former security professionals in the Balkans weigh in on the topic, generally supporting the thesis that the US does not necessarily know all that goes on- and, in some cases, deliberately seeks to avoid doing so.

The most outspoken of these officials is Tom Gambill, an OSCE Security Officer in Kosovo from 1999-2004. In numerous meetings and through private correspondence, Gambill presented evidence of a concerted Islamic fundamentalist build-up in Kosovo, sometimes involving known terrorist entities, to army and intelligence officials from the US and allied countries. When he mentioned such intelligence data gleaned from sources in the field indicating a terrorist presence, however, he was often ignored. “The peacekeeping motto was, ‘don’t rock the boat.’ So long as everything bad that was going on could be hushed up or smoothed over, the policy was to leave it alone.”

Gambill’s testimony is reminiscent of the situation in Bosnia a few years earlier where, according to the Jerusalem Post, the Clinton administration had sought “to keep the lid on the pot at all costs” regarding its role in abetting the Iranian infiltration of the country with mujahedin, military trainers and heavy weapons during the 1992-1995 civil war. While that was done to suppress an embarrassing and shortsighted government policy, the disregarding of dubious developments in Kosovo has had more to do with the general mediocrity and every-man-for-himself dynamic of a non-accountable UN peacekeeping mission.

While the foiled plot to massacre soldiers at Fort Dix appears to have been more a case of wishful thinking than anything else, it was an important case in that it showed that Balkan Muslims who had previously been helped by America could in fact turn against their benefactors. There have not been any demonstrated connections between the plotters and any groups in Macedonia, though US authorities were no doubt correct to err on the side of caution in ordering their local colleagues to take a more active stance.

Despite the unlikelihood that a specific connection will be found linking the “Fort Dix Six” to Macedonia, some dedicated security officers there took satisfaction in knowing that the arrests in New Jersey had spurred the US into action. “This (the arrests) was the best thing that could have happened for us,” said one intelligence officer. “Now we can get down to work and hopefully the Americans will respect more what we have to say.”

Future counter terrorism operations in Macedonia will likely branch out to new terrain. While the major population centers such as Skopje and Tetovo remain the places where most known radicals live, at present a significant trend is the growth of fundamentalist groups in the central and central-western mountainous areas of the country, from the Karadzica-Kitka massif westward to Debar, including rural areas near Prilep, Brod and Kicevo. Outside funding from Saudi Arabia, Turkey and others is responsible for the growth of Islam in predominantly poor and ethnically-confused mountainous areas that, with time, could materialize into more significant areas of concern, as the state has done little to offer social alternatives for marginalized groups.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

No Change in US Name Recognition

Milovanovic - US won't shift position on name
Makfax vesnik:

Skopje /21/06/ 15:00

The position of the United States of the America on the constitutional name of Macedonia will not change, US Ambassador to Macedonia said.

'In 2004, we recognized Macedonia under its constitutional name. That is a policy that has not been changed and it won't change', Milovanovic said in an interview with the Skopje's weekly Forum Plus.

'As far as US is concerned, the prospects are really good as long as Macedonia is ready to finish the necessary job until the moment when the invitation is expected', Ambassador Milovanovic said.

She pointed out that the status issue must be resolved and that it would be to the benefit of the whole region.

'We have to turn the Central Balkans from a zone of insecurity to a safe place, a place that is good for investing. That can only bring good things to the region, including Macedonia, of course', Milovanovic said.

She pointed out that US doesn't expect from Macedonia to be among the first to recognize eventual Kosovo's independence.

'What we are interested in is establishment of good neighborly relations', the US Ambassador to Macedonia said in the interview with Forum Plus."

See Good Comment re: Detroit is Trembling

By David Edenden

This is a good comment on "
Detroit is Trembling, Cars in Macedonia". A little while ago, another good comment on Mike Rann To Greeks: Ever Heard of Vaseline? on my old site.

Keep the coming!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Detroit is Trembling, Cars in Macedonia!

"Iinitiative for assembling Chinese vehicles in Macedonia
Makfax:
Skopje, 14:14

Three models of Chinese vehicles that are likely to be assembled in Macedonia were presented in the premises of the bus production plant Sanos.

Two types of four-wheel vehicles and a limousine were presented. In addition, a family car that may be assembled in the Skopje-based factory too was displayed on a photograph

The vehicles are of GMC brand, manufactured by one of the leading companies for cars and trucks with annual turnover of $1.4 billion.

At today's presentation, the owner of Sanos, Slave Raspashoski, called upon the Macedonian government and the public in general to demonstrate understanding and give full support to this project.

He said that if all necessary licenses are provided and the regulatory process is completed quickly, the assembling of the vehicles might set out within the next six months.

The selling price of these cars would be 7.500 euros, i.e. 6.300, if the government lifts the excise tax. As many as 1.000 people would be employed to reach the projected production volume of 10.000 units in a year.

Sanos is a plant engaged in production of buses with respectable tradition, which was called FAS 11 October in the communist era. After several-year hiatus in t"

Macedonia Grows, Hard Work and Peace Pays Off

"Macedonia marks 7% GDP in first quarter - the highest in 17 years
Makfax vesnik:

Skopje /20/06/ 16:10

Macedonia achieved 7 percent growth of the Gross Domestic Product in the first quarter of 2007.

Macedonian premier Nikola Gruevski announced this at a press conference today, citing official data of the State Statistical Office.

Gruevski underlined that this marks the greatest GDP hike in the Republic of Macedonia over the past 17 years.

Zoran Stavrevski, the vice-prime minister in charge of economic issues, said that this figure is identical to the one achieved by the fastest growing economies in the world.

'It is remarkable that the growth encompasses not one or two sectors, but is comprehensive and includes all areas', Stavrevski said.

Reminding that the industrial production and export operations marked the same growth in the first four months, Stavrevski said that all of this indicates that a realistically-based growth is in question."

"The Economist" on Macedonians in Greece

By David Edenden

This article by The Economist is 15 years old and not much has changed for the Macedonians in Greece. "Cultural Genocide "1", Human Rights "0". RFE, NDI, IWPR and ICG have never even acknowledged that Macedonians in Greece exist, let alone fight for their rights. These are pseudo-rights groups and not friends of Macedonia. It's a pity that they scurry around Macedonia lecturing Macedonians about human rights. It's just enough to destabilize the Balkans. It enough to make you spit!

Do not disagree
The Economist London:Aug 14, 1993

For a former newspaper editor of liberal opinions, Greece's prime minister has some odd ideas about freedom of speech. Six cases are going through the Greek courts in which the defendants, some say, have done nothing more heinous than disagree with Constantine Mitsotakis's government over a patch of the map. This is the country of Macedonia, which Greeks prefer to call "Skopje", the name of its capital, or maybe FYROM (the acronym for Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia).

Greece still says it will not let the world recognize Macedonia under the name of Macedonia, arguing that this would imply a territorial claim on a northern Greek province also called Macedonia. To publicise its views, Greece is conducting a vigorous propaganda campaign. "Macedonia is Greek and only Greek" is a slogan that greets visitors at airports and is emblazoned on public buildings all over the country.

More worryingly, Greeks who disagree publicly with their government on the subject can find themselves in court. Next month four members of an anti-nationalist group will appeal against a 19-month sentence for "disseminating false information" and "attempting to incite violence". Their offence was to distribute a leaflet with the title, "Our neighbors are not our enemies. No to nationalism and to war." An 18-year-old student, Michael Papadakis, is also waiting for an appeal hearing against a one-year sentence he received for distributing a leaflet that called Alexander the Great, the most famous Macedonian of all, a war criminal. It added "Macedonia belongs to its people. There are no races. We are all of mixed descent." Mr Papadakis was charged with attempting to incite division among citizens, disturbing the peace and carrying a weapon. No evidence was produced in court to substantiate the last charge.

Some of the laws invoked in these and other cases are arcane. One forbids publicly insulting the government or the prime minister. That was a charge levelled at a newspaper proprietor, George Bobolas (who once fought an indecisive court battle with The Economist Group over an article in one of its newsletters). In none of the cases has anyone been charged with acts of violence. The charges, says Helsinki Watch, a human-rights organisation, "are based purely on publicly expressed opinions that conflict with the views of the Greek government." Although the undersecretary for foreign affairs has said that some of the trials are a mistake, the government has not dropped any changes. In one case, the public prosecutor even appealed against a unanimous verdict of not guilty.

Few Greeks claim that their judiciary is fully independent. Promotion for judges often depends on political links. Senior jurists are among the highest-paid public-sector employees. They may not take bribes, but they listen to their political masters. Those convicted on these curious charges are unlikely to go to jail. The aim seems to be to intimidate others who might wish to open a debate about Macedonia--or about the people in northern Greece whom the government calls "Slavophone Greeks"

If this were anywhere but Greece, these people, who speak the Slav language of neighbouring Macedonia, would be called the Macedonian minority. Officially, how ever, there are no ethnic minorities in Greece (though the 90,000 Turks in Thrace are referred to as the Muslim minority: "Slavophone Greeks" number between 10,000 and 50,000 according to America's State Department. Many claim to have suffered discrimination because their families fought for the communists in the Greece civil war in the late 1940s. Some are in trouble for wanting to form organisations to preserve their language and culture.

Christos Sidiropoulos and Tassos Bouli have both received five-month sentences for "spreading false information and instigating conflict". They did this, apparently, by telling a Greek magazine that they "feel Macedonian" and by claiming that 1m people in Greece feel the same way.

Many countries suppress free speech. But these trials are taking place in a member of the European Community. Greece is already unpopular with its EC partners for being intransigent about the recognition of Macedonia. It is frequently criticised by international human-rights groups for its attitude towards the Slav-speakers. The only ray of light is that these messages of condemnation may now at last be getting through to Mr Mitsotakis.

The "Movement of Macedonians", set up by Slav-speakers in a small Greek town near the border with Macedonia, has lately found life less difficult. Its members are no longer harassed by the local police. Its monthly newspaper, in Slav-Macedonian, has reappeared after a long gap. One of its founders, Christos Pritskas, says: "We have a dialogue going with the government. Our request for Slav-Macedonian to be taught in schools is under consideration. The atmosphere has definitely changed in the past few months." Not before time.

Unanimous For Nato

By David Edenden

I hope that all goes well in Macedonia's long trek to join Nato. We have put all our eggs in one basket. George Bush has been good to us, but the Democrats now hold the Congress and likely the US presidency in November 2008. It does not look good for Macedonia since the Greek Issues Caucus and the Albanian Issues Caucus have huge influence in the Democratic Party.
Macedonian Parliament adopts declaration in support for NATO membership
(SETimes.com):

"SKOPJE, Macedonia -- Parliament unanimously adopted a declaration Tuesday (June 19th) in support of the country's accelerated admission to NATO. The document, submitted by independent member Gjorgji Orovcanec, stresses the broad political consensus for membership and urges the government to speed up reforms related to the NATO integration bid. Expanding the Alliance, it adds, would help create conditions for sustainable peace in the Balkans. The declaration is being forwarded to all NATO member states. (MIA, A1 TV, Makfax - 19/06/07)"

Monday, June 18, 2007

Bush turning Kosovo into Macedonia's thorn-in-the-side



So George W. Bush decided to push the Kosovo independence issue the other day? How does that as a Macedonian make me feel? Well, I wasn't a strong supporter of this guy in the first place (mostly my job would never let me support a Republican hint, hint). But many Macedonians where I live are because of three reasons: taxes, the name issue and not saying anything about Kosovo (or just keeping it out of the headlines). Many are now rethinking their support for this guy which I ask, why did you support him in the first place? He didn't know a Serb from a Bosnian from a Macedonian until Condi Rice gave him a history lecture about the Balkans in two hours at camp Crawford. For his updated knowledge, he named a little hill on his ranch "Balkan Hill" for his new acquired (and maybe conquered) knowledge. But I have to bring up an event that many have forgotten during the 2001 conflict.

Does anyone remember James Pardew? In 2001 he orchestrated the Ohrid agreement between Albanians and Macedonians to end the conflict. I never liked this guy because it was obvious he couldn't tell the difference between a Macedonian or an Albanian (reminds me of another Texas southerner hint, hint). Also, the agreement itself hasn't helped the situation and was unrealistic.

The other reason is obvious- Kosovo is being used in a bigger political game. They are being used in the whole quagmire the U.S. is involved with the Russians. The Albanians have no regret about being used as political pawns in the geopolitical game. We Macedonians already do not trust politicians to begin with, but this issue just further reminded many of us why we do not contribute to politics because you can be left out to dry. So I ask you fellow Macedonians out there, was that fun being used as pawns against the Serbs? The only other thing that could be worse is seeing Albanian-Buddy Joseph Biden getting elected and making Kosovo a front-page issue to which we Macedonians will then have to deal with the separatist calls in our homeland again. God help us all.

Friday, June 15, 2007

New Book: The Coming Balkan Caliphate

By David Edenden:

This is a new book by Chris Deliso who is an American journalist working out of Skopje, Macedonia. He is also the author of a forthing travel book on Macedonia called
Hidden Macedonia (Armchair Traveler)


The Coming Balkan Caliphate
The Threat of Radical Islam to Europe and the West

Christopher Deliso

Description

The Balkans--the gateway between East and West--are also Europe's soft underbelly, a rough neighborhood where organized crime and terrorism present a constant threat. This eye-opening book details how 15 years of misguided Western interventions, political scheming, and local mafia appeasement, compounded by a massive infusion of Arab cash, fundamentalist Islamic preaching and mosque-building have allowed radical Islamic groups to fill in the cracks between internal ethnic and religious schisms and take root in key areas of the Balkans.

Endorsement From David Binder, New York Times Central and Eastern European correspondent, 1961-2004.
Anyone imagining that Moslem extremists must be seen as a threat only east of Suez should read Chris Deliso's alarming accounts of their activities in parts of the Balkans made vulnerable by wars and poverty.
Endorsement From Scott Taylor, award-winning Canadian war reporter and publisher, Esprit de Corps Magazine
Chris Deliso is a veteran field reporter and one of the foremost experts on the Balkans. Unlike many of the mainstream 'parachute' journalists who drop in every time a new violent crisis erupts, Deliso lives in the region and therefore better understands the dynamics and political intrigues. This book presents a compelling glimpse into the much overlooked spread of radical Islam throughout the former Yugoslavia. A must-read for those who have prematurely declared the international intervention in the Balkans a "success story".
Endorsement From Sibel Edmonds, Former FBI translator and founder, National Security Whistleblowers Coalition
Christopher Deliso provides critical nsight into the hypocrisy of Western policy towards the Balkans, now an epicenter for European heroin distribution and processing and a conduit for illegal arms sales, both of which provide financing that sustains global terrorism. This book should be required reading for all members of the U.S. foreign policy establishment.
Endorsement From Nebojsa Malic, Balkan Affairs columnist, Antiwar.com
Incisive, well-researched and thought-provoking, Christopher Deliso presents a must-read account of how Islamic fundamentalism arrived in the Balkans, and the threat it portends for the future.
Author Information:
CHRISTOPHER DELISO, an American journalist and travel writer based in the Balkans, has been investigating radical Islamic trends in the region for the past six years, in the process discovering emerging threats and groups that had been obscurely or completely unknown to the outside world. Deliso, who holds a master's degree in Byzantine Studies from Oxford University, is director of Balkanalysis.com, a leading independent Balkan news web site. He also serves as field analyst for the Economics Intelligence Unit, London, on Macedonian politics. His freelance articles on Balkan politics, economics, and security issues have been published widely in the mainstream and alternative media in America and abroad.

Small Helping Hand from Rolf Ekeus, OSCE

By David Edenden

This is a long and thoughtful article on
Rolf Ekeus' (OSCE) ideas regarding minority rights and minority responsibilities in Macedonia. It should be translated into Macedonian and read by every Macedonian politician. As to whether Rolf Ekeus will have an impact on American or EU positions, I have my doubts. However, if they follow his logic, then it will go along way to promoting stability in Macedonia.
Albanians in Tetovo Stunned by OSCE Official’s Call for Minority Language Obligations, but Government Fails to Capitalize

6/14/2007 (Balkanalysis.com)

It was completely ignored in the local and international press. But the visit and speech of a top-ranking OSCE official to Macedonia on May 10 might just herald a turning point in the “international community’s” stance on minority rights and responsibilities in this small Balkan country, one necessitated by a realization that European Union countries are starting to suffer from the very same ills that have been notable in Macedonia for years, and which in fact led to a brief war in 2001.

Nevertheless, the government failed to take advantage of this support for Macedonia and the tacit acknowledgment that it is being treated as an equal with the Western countries- displaying yet again the hazards of a chronic head-in-the-sand policy of ignoring outside views on the country.

... One crucial and fundamental responsibility of minorities is language acquisition. At least this is so according to the very senior OSCE official who visited Macedonia last month and shocked an audience that had expected a much different lecture. In a speech called, “The Role of Education in Building a Pluralist and Genuinely Democratic Society,” OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Rolf Ekéus made a succinct but powerful case for why minorities must learn the majority language of the country they inhabit.

Speaking in front of a crowd of professors, students and local politicians, Ekéus gave a speech that caught the mostly Albanian audience by surprise. After a decade of being coddled when demanding – and getting – unending privileges while contributing little to the state’s welfare, and indeed causing a ruinous war in the process, it was not hard to understand why the Albanians might be surprised. The sea change in policy was evinced in pointed language that spoke directly to the source of the problem.

This, however, was preceded by the usual arguments for minority rights- which perhaps contributed to the way in which the primarily Albanian audience was caught off-guard. The high commissioner first underscored that the right to an education is a fundamental human right which “should be guaranteed without discrimination of any kind,” and that states “are obliged to promote mutual respect and understanding, and co-operation among all persons living on their territory, irrespective of those persons’ ethnic, cultural, linguistic or religious identity, in particular in the fields of education, culture and the media.”

The turning point in the speech began with the link to the pan-European problem of ethnic separatism. “While a pluralist and genuinely democratic society should enable the preservation of minority rights, separation along ethnic lines should be avoided at all costs,” affirmed Commissioner Ekéus, “since it reinforces ethnic divisions within communities and serves as a fertile breeding ground for negative stereotypes and prejudices among different ethnic groups.”

The commissioner went on to discuss the importance of language, which “can be a tool of integration.” The crucial statement followed thus:

“However, for this to function properly, both the majority and minority must be willing to accept compromise. Integration, therefore, involves responsibilities and rights on both sides. The minority should be prepared to learn and to use the language or languages used by the State, normally the language of the majority. At the same time, the majority must accept the linguist rights of persons belonging to national minorities.”

For Macedonians, who have bitterly complained that they have made all of the compromises and received nothing in return from their country’s only restive minority, this should have been music to their ears. However, there were apparently few ears to hear, and no one subsequently reported the groundbreaking statements, which represent a sharp change of direction in policy from a representative of one of the most powerful Western institutions.

Commissioner Ekéus went even further, however. Adding that a “lack of proficiency in the State language can further increase ethnic tension and segregation of communities along ethnic lines,” he hypothesized a long-term strategy for state survival in Macedonia, which would include “increasing State-language classes in the existing state curriculum and/or introducing bilingual educational programmes in schools,” a process which for minorities “benefits their integration into society and their access to public goods.” Such a scenario was decidedly not what Albanians wanted to hear, and in the question-and-answer period that followed they made this clear, according to one lecture attendee.

... All things considered, one might think that the center-right Macedonian government might highlight the Western call for the national integrity of the country that Commissioner Ekéus’ visit and speech represented. However, they failed to take advantage of this great and unexpected gift, which by means of a not very challenging extrapolation put the country on equal footing with all of Europe on the issue of minority rights and responsibilities. Through the OSCE, Europe was speaking Macedonia’s language, and all that was needed was a response. None came.

Most scandalously, planned meetings of Commissioner Ekéus with Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and Macedonian Deputy Prime Minister Gabriela Konevska-Trajkovska were all cancelled, “with very little prior notice” according to one official. In the end, the highest official the distinguished guest met was Imer Aliu, the Deputy Prime Minister responsible for the sector involved in implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement and a nominee of the Albanian DPA party, the coalition partner of Gruevski’s VMRO-DPMNE. No offense to Mr. Aliu, but simple protocol demands that an official of the commissioner’s stature be received by the prime minister or president.

This blunder of protocol appears infinitely more suicidal in light of the specific content of the OSCE high commissioner’s speech in Tetovo. Numerous media reports have increasingly mentioned that European officials are becoming more and more disenchanted with the government’s perceived disinterest in at least listening to their well-meaning advice.

When visiting officials are not even acknowledged when they take considerable risk to defend Macedonia’s national interest, as was the case with Commissioner Ekéus, it becomes hard not to sympathize with these concerns. And so under the current conditions, if the high commissioner, or another official of his stature, returns to Macedonia he or she will have every reason to weigh the options before taking a spirited stance in support of the country.


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

"The Macedonian Tendency is Moving

This is the last post on this site (http://david-edenden.blogspot.com/ ).

The Macedonian Tendency has moved to this new URL (http://the-macedonian-tendency.blogspot.com/"). The post below is the the first post on the new URL.

A Guide to Contributors to "The Macedonian Tendency"

by David Edenden

I am turning "The Macedonian Tendency" into a group blog. The first thing you will notice is the new URL "http://the-macedonian-tendency.blogspot.com/". This new URL should make it easier for journalists and politicians to find the blog, although there will be a period of adjustment as the search engines indexes it. The old site, http://david-edenden.blogspot.com/ will continue for the time being, until all the articles have been migrated to this site. If, like myself, it is necessary for you to use a pseudonym, please fell free to do so.

If you receive an invitation to join, you must apply a Gmail account which is free and easy to use. Feel free to introduce yourself and write on any topic relating to Macedonia, its history and culture without my prior approval. I do not expect that everyone will agree with my eccentric views, so debate within the blog is not a bad thing. In your Blogger profile, write what your interests are relating to writing for the blog. In this way, we will develop a division of labor so that we are not all writing about the same thing.

Identify yourself and format your writing in italics, while keeping the other material in regular fonts. Hopefully you will write at least one article per week ... not a great commitment. If you have written something in the past, please feel free to publish it here.

The purpose of this blog is to inform foreign journalists and politicians about "the Macedonian question" today. My main focus is to help in the process of recognition of Macedonia's constitutional name, the fight for the rights of Macedonians in Greece and Bulgaria and to a lesser extent in Albania.

We really need book an movie reviews along with the other arts. Sports reviews are also welcome.

I am not really interested in using this blog to display the divisions that are reflected in Macedonian politics. I generally support all Macedonian governments, although I disagree with many of their individual positions. Macedonians need a big tent. One of my favorite expressions is " some people look for converts, while others look for heretics." Lets all look for converts and not needlessly look for battles within our community.

Lets use Jews and Israel as a model. Jewish support for Israel is unwavering, however many Jews fell free to offer suggestions for Israeli policy. I have in the past published warnings against Nato membership, the EU and other issues without damning the Macedonian politicians who promote them.

Since it is a blog and not a online news magazine like "Reality Macedonia", articles should be short with links to the original source. I usually like to comment, no matter how small on all posts, but there have been exceptions. (1)

This long post about Robert Kaplan is a good example of the use of links. This post about Barack Obama needs to have links added. I decided it was worth posting first and then adding links later. After publishing your post, editing the title is not advisable since the search engines will lose the post. Editing of the actual posts is OK for spelling and formating issues.

For the sake of readability, I usually do not copy the entire original article, but do copy relevant material that could be lost behind a "subscription wall" (1) (2) (3). there are exceptions.

Make sure to include the link, the name of the author, relevant people and the core issue that are discussed.

"The Macedonian Tendency" is one of the few blogs where a comments on a specific news item are published from a Macedonian perspective. Lets try to improve it.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Will the Macedonian-Greek Dust-Up Sink Barack Obama

By David Edenden

Sooner or later the Greek lobby will be come knocking on the door of Senator Barack Obama for support for their position that ethnic Macedonians change the name of their country, the Republic of Macedonia, their Macedonian Orthodox Church, their Macedonian language, their history and finally to cease and desist in advocating for human rights for ethnic Macedonians living in Greece.

Loula Loi Alafoyiannis & Obama
EWAC

How he deals with this issue may determine how the media treats his persona as a politician who is different; a politician who is offering hope and integrity for Americans.

Obama does' 't have that luxury to pander to the Greek lobby since, as a member of a racial minority that continues to face discrimination, you can't be seen as supporting discrimination of others. That's news - "thats man bites dog news", "thats democrat crosses picket line news", "thats republican ignores troops news".

I can see the right-wing smear machine proclaiming "Obama supports the cultural genocide of ethnic Macedonians in Greece!" Big news!

The "right wind smear machine" will be able to go into overdrive and "swift-boat" Obama on this issue because President Bush has taken a position on principle (maybe accidentally or maybe not.). He has recognized "The Republic of Macedonia" rather than the name "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) that the was forced upon Macedonia as a deal to get into the UN. The "smear machine" will slice and dice Obama's position to destroy his reputation and subvert his credentials as one who is interested in decency and human rights. It will be on Fox, Rush Limbaugh, bloggers and along with radio and TV ads.

The liberal media will be hard pressed to come to his defense when this issue becomes headline news. That's the beauty of this type of smear ... its true! The pundits will say "what was Obama thinking" ... "he blew it on that one" ... "how will he get himself out of this jam".

I am not a fan of the politics of personal destruction ... but there you go.

Jewish and Israel News from New York - The Jewish Week

Jewish and Israel News from New York - The Jewish Week:
"How Future Pope Helped Save Jews

New book details efforts of Monsignor Roncalli (Pope John XXIII) during the Holocaust.
Jay Bushinsky - Special To The Jewish Week

Details of the combined efforts to rescue thousands of Jews during World War II by a representative of the Jewish Agency for Palestine and a Catholic cleric, who later became pope, have come to light through a recently published book.

Professor Dina Porat of Tel Aviv University, a historian who has written extensively on the Holocaust, gained access to the private papers of Chaim Barlas, who together with Monsignor Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli (Pope John XXIII), used a variety of tactics to rescue thousands of endangered Jews from Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Greece and especially Hungary by enabling them to flee the ongoing Holocaust.

Barlas’ official papers, documents and letters were forwarded to the Zionist Archives in Jerusalem. But his personal records, stored in cardboard boxes and stashed in his family’s Tel Aviv residence, include dramatic accounts of Monsignor Roncalli’s emotional reaction on learning of the horrors described to him of the Auschwitz death camp.

“He cried when Barlas showed him the evidence,” said Porat.

Macedonian Link to Nicolas Sarkozy

Telegraph newspaper online: "Nicolas Sarkozy was born in 1955, the second of three sons born to a Hungarian immigrant, Pal Sarkozy de Nagy-Bocsa, and his French wife, Andrée Mallah.

The couple met in 1949 but separated 10 years later, with Pal eventually marrying several more times. Nicolas's maternal family also originates outside France. Andrée Mallah was the daughter of Benedict Mallah, a doctor who at the time of his daughter's wedding had gained a formidable reputation as a urologist and lived in the affluent 17th arrondissement of Paris.

A Sephardic Jew, he was born in Thessalonica, Greece, in 1890. However, the Mallah family can trace their roots back to Provence in Southern France, having originally been forced to leave during the persecution of Jews in the Middle Ages.

At the age of 14, Benedict left Greece to further his education, taking up a place at the Lycée Lakanal boarding school in the southern suburbs of Paris, where he studied medicine. He stayed in France and became a citizen, repaying his debt to his new home by acting as a doctor in the French army during the First World War."